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Who am I... Why am I Here?

Greetings of Peace...

In the fall of 1993, while searching for the new crescent moon, I became aware of the beauty of our world. I have always had a connection with the natural world growing up. First through my father, a landscaper, who imbibed in me a deep appreciation for the soil of the Earth. Later in life, after my father died, I was introduced to the wilderness by my uncles through our camping, hunting and fishing trips.

Although I always loved the outdoors, it was not until that fateful day when I saw and was able to photograph the birth of a new moon that I really started to appreciate the Natural World and contemplate its meaning.

At about the same time I discovered the religion of Islam. A rich and spiritual tradition that is centered on the recognition that the Divine is the Source of everything in creation. Islam's main teaching is that of Unity. Unity of the Creator, the unity of humanity, and the unity of the universe itself in perfect balance. The sacred traditions tell us that the light of the heavens and the earth emanates from the Creator.

The Creator also asks us to ponder the signs in this world. Signs that point us back to the Creator so that we can recognize who the Creator is. And by that we can come into concert with the rest of the creation in the glorification of the Creator. I started to deeply ponder and reflect on the meanings of these signs in the natural world and came to the realization that everything in the creation was alive, even the Light itself. It was this opening that helped me develop the philosophy of Organic Light:

In the beginning, as related by all the great world religions, the first creation was light. Prior to that everything other than the Creator did not exist. Light is the pivot on which all of the creation rests. The Light of the Heavens and the Earth is a mixture of that original pure light and pure darkness. This mixture produces shade. And it is by the virtue of shade that we can actually see, for at either extreme we are blinded.

When the rest of creation came into existence it started to interact with the pure light and we then started to see all the shades of blue, the shades of green, the shades of red and all the other colors that fill the spectrum. However, what we see and perceive in the world is nothing more than a shadow of the creation basking in pure light. This shadow, the mixture of pure light with the creation, is constantly in a state of change. It appears different in the morning than it does at noon and different yet in the evening. It also changes with the changes of the seasons. The greens of Spring give way to the reds and yellows of Autumn.

And so this interaction between pure light and the creation produces a spectrum of intensities and colors that dazzle the eyes and enthrall the heart and mind. I call this interaction Organic Light because it possesses the quality of change which is common to all living things in the creation.

My hope, through these photographs that have recorded this Organic Light, is that we may all come to recognize the Signs of the Creator, ponder on them, and eventually come to the recognition and glorification of the Creator in concert with the rest of creation, in unity, as a whole, the way we were meant to be.


Youssef M. Ismail

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